I know, it’s a funny title – but that is how Mrs. William H. Hammond baptized her pie dish in the 1984 edition of “Needle the Cook,” a recipe book released by the New Canaan Sewing Group. I’m not entirely sure how we came to possess this (well-worn and homemade) booklet of local recipes…but that’s part of the charm. Probably typed-up on a typewriter, the book features two colors – blue and white – as well as the recurring image of a bee sewing…it’s a bit bizarre but has some gems that the dames of New Canaan wanted to pass on to their progeny. It has, evidently, worked. :)
This peach pie has been a family favorite for years. Normally, my mother makes it and I eat it. Ah, the life…
However, it seems like I’ve “come of age” and it is my turn to prepare the pie. Rather than being filled to the brim with fruit and covered with a sheet of dough, this pie features a custard filling and an open top. Lots of peaches are (of course) welcome, but too many will change the nature of the custard and the filling.
The crust is rich, the custard is creamy, and the peaches HAVE TO BE FRESH. In my town, they are rolling in much earlier than normal – which just means more peach pies for me. :)
For the crust :
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp sour cream
Preheat oven to 425F. Put all the ingredients in a Cuisinart and mix until a ball forms.
If you don’t have this fancy machine, use your fingers OR a fork and mix until the dough is uniform and easily malleable – rather like sugar cookie dough.
Grease the pie pan. Press this into the BUTTERED pie pan until you have an even layer all the way around.
Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until just starting to brown. Remove and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
For the filling :
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup sour cream
Beat all ingredients together until frothy and yellow and smooth. I put my mixture back in the Cuisinart, but this can easily be done with a whisk. Peel and slice five small peaches (three large ones) and place them in the pie dish.
This is an opportunity to be artistic…and normally, I am…but when you have an aunt hovering in and out of the kitchen, a mom checking on certain elements of the pie, an uncle and a father attempting to grill (but not cooking the chicken enough) and an adorable little grandmother who is repeatedly asking you what day it is…you just want to finish the pie and get out of the kitchen, seeking refuge in the piano room…or is that just me ?
Anyway, place the peaches in the pie pan, arranged as you see fit. Pour the egg mixture (eg the custard) on top of the peaches. I didn’t have any with me…but I think that sprinkling a little nutmeg overtop of the pie would be super delicious. Maybe a little cinnamon, too.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the custard is set. You’ll know when the custard is cooked when you can touch it with your finger and a small amount will come off OR when you shake the pie and the center will jiggle rather like pudding but not actually pour/spill.
If your pie crust starts to burn (depending on the strength of your oven), cover the pie with tinfoil.
I would serve this pie warm rather than cold. This way, the custard is so much more creamy and comforting. It’s a great summer dish best enjoyed outside on a picnic table (or in front of the Olympics…) It’s also fantastic the next day….I just ate the leftovers. Miam miam !
Bon appétit !